Sexual Violence Action Committee (Details)

Name of province/ territory:


City/ Region:


Description of Initiative:

The purpose of the Sexual Violence Action Committee (SVAC) is to provide leadership, coordination and a unified voice on issues of sexual violence in southwestern Alberta. The following organizations are SVAC partners:

  • Alberta Health Services (Chinook Health—Sexual Health Centre)
  • Alberta Justice—Lethbridge Crown Prosecutor’s Office
  • Lethbridge College
  • Lethbridge Family Services
  • Lethbridge Regional Police Service (LRPS)
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  • Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority
  • University of Lethbridge
  • Victim/Witness Services—Lethbridge Regional Police Service
  • Victim/Witness Services—RCMP
  • YWCA Lethbridge and District

SVAC is a standing committee of partner representatives, and while the committee members themselves usually do not take training, training has been arranged by and through the committee for first responders and frontline staff from a variety of disciplines. This has included training on interviewing child victims and on managing first disclosure of sexual assault.

The committee itself does not handle individual cases. The committee meets monthly to discuss topical issues with respect to sexual assault investigations, prosecutions, counseling and support, community education, awareness, etc. The committee, through its partners, participates in education and awareness, training, grant applications for funding to advance committee interests, etc. The committee is also a forum to raise concerns over local processes or shortcomings regarding sexual assault investigations, counseling and victim support.

Initiative Key Objectives:

Collaboration, sharing information, raising public awareness regarding the community impacts of sexual violence, addressing partner-specific concerns and shortcomings in process, and arranging training opportunities.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

Criminal Investigation Division

Key Contact:

Colin Catonio

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • community groups
  • other police services
  • private agencies/corporations
  • other government departments/agencies
  • other: SART doctors

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

SVAC is primarily a consultative committee.

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

SVAC was established in 2004.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

The initiative was undertaken to enhance public awareness and knowledge of sexual violence, and to provide a collaborative community response to sexual violence.

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

There were no material costs to establishing SVAC. There have been training costs covered by Lethbridge Family Services (LFS) and in-kind financial assistance. Child-interview training cost about $10,000 and was largely covered by a grant; first-responders training was provided by staff from agencies that are SVAC members, and costs were nominal; the training with the SART doctors and pediatricians was hosted by LRPS, and the costs were soft-dollar only. Most of the costs of training were covered by LFS, as some LFS funding from the province is allocated for the area of education regarding sexual violence. Other SVAC member organizations provided in-kind financial assistance. The primary non-financial resource required is the continuous commitment and attendance of a representative from each agency.

Method of Implementation:

The committee was spun off from the Domestic Violence Action Committee in recognition of sexual-violence issues as distinct from family violence.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

Ongoing positive relationships have been established amongst the partners who have an interest in matters of sexual assault. Training, education and public awareness have been beneficial to partner agencies and the general public. Membership on SVAC has increased since 2004, as other stakeholders realize the importance of collaborative work.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:

SVAC maintains a website which can be fount at

Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • N/A

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

In the last year, two training sessions with the SART doctors and pediatricians were held with respect to medical examinations, evidence collection and witness testimony.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:


Additional Comments or Suggestions:

Through SVAC, frontline responders from various disciplines have been trained. Training has also been provided to the SART doctors and pediatricians in Lethbridge.

Record Entry Date:


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